April 6, 2016 by Lauren Goldstein, NMSU News Center
This week, students from the groundbreaking program Atrévete a Emprender, or “Dare to Be an Entrepreneur,” will team with New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Center for a weeklong residency. The program, which spans two countries and aims to increase regional economic collaboration and diversify industry, began last March and will continue for the next 12 weeks.
Griselda Martinez and Jorge Ramos of Arrowhead Center developed and implemented the program in partnership with officials from Mexico City’s local government as a public call to students, faculty and researchers from five public universities in Mexico to take part in innovative entrepreneurial development. Their invitation, titled “200 Words Can Change Your Life,” was a call for teams of two to four people to submit a business idea in a 200-word proposal to Atrévete a Emprender. The public call for participation was a new approach to attracting potential entrepreneurs from Mexico. For the teams who have moved through the program, the experience has been life changing.
“If you follow the process from the start to where we are now the self-motivation, exponential growth and creativity of these entrepreneurs and teams is amazing to see,” said Griselda Martinez, co-director of Atrévete a Emprender.
Martinez and Ramos expected around 200 proposals, but said they were floored when initial submissions from teams totaled close to 400. From these initial applications, they selected 50 teams to participate in a business model canvas workshop, held in Mexico City. The next stage included a video submission and live presentation, after which Ramos and Martinez selected 25 teams and worked with them on a business model and in-depth market research.
In a highly selective and competitive process, 10 teams were then selected to work with Arrowhead Center for a 12-week incubation period to explore U.S. and global markets. This week, these 10 teams arrive for a one-week residency at Arrowhead to conduct interviews with potential buyers, meet with Arrowhead’s investor-in-residence, and take workshops on customer discovery. The teams’ final live presentations on Thursday will be attended by venture capitalists who will visit as potential investors, partners, and mentors.
“By launching this program, Arrowhead is looking to recruit entrepreneurs into New Mexico and increase international deal flow of technologies. This creates the possibility for business creation in the state and beyond, while strengthening economic ties within Borderplex region,” Ramos said.
Kathy Hansen, director of Arrowhead Center, sees this as a unique opportunity for growth.
“We are excited, it’s a great potential for developing relationships with these companies and students to help them succeed,” Hansen said.
For more information on Atrévete a Emprender and other programs and events at Arrowhead Center, visit arrowheadcenter.nmsu.edu.